12 Years a Slave


Character: Bass
Release Date: 30 August, 2013
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Written By: John Ridley (screenplay), Solomon Northup (based on “Twelve Years a Slave” by)
Genre: Biography/Drama/History
Tagline: The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Produced by: Regency Enterprises, River Road Entertainment, Plan B Entertainment, New Regency Pictures, Film4
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Budget: $20.000.000 (estimated)
Filming Dates: 25 June 2012 – 13 August 2012

Brad Pitt…Bass
Chiwetel Ejiofor…Solomon Northup
Dwight Henry…Uncle Abram
Bryan Batt…Judge Turner
Ashley Dyke…Anna
Kelsey Scott…Anne Northup
Quvenzhané Wallis…Margaret Northup

Filming Locations:
Madame John’s Legacy, the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (slave pen)
Felicity Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana, USA (Epps’ house Exteriors)
Audubon Park, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
St. Joseph Plantation, Louisiana, USA
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (as Saratoga)
Magnolia Plantation – Highway 311, Schriever, Louisiana, USA (Ford’s house)
Bocage Plantation, Darrow, Louisiana, USA (Shaw farm)
Urbania, Lower Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Epps’ House Interiors)
Columns Hotel – 3811 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (hotel in Washington, DC)
Destrehan, Louisiana, USA (Epps plantation barn)
Magnolia Lane Plantation – 2141 River Rd, Bridge City, Louisiana, USA (Judge Turner’s house)

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Trivia & Facts:
The tree where Solomon Northup sees several men being lynched was actually used for lynching and is surrounded by the graves of murdered slaves.
In order to better portray an alcoholic Michael Fassbender had his makeup artist paint his mustache with alcohol so that the other actors would react naturally to the smell as they would to a man who had been drinking heavily.
Director Steve McQueen had been toying with the idea of writing a script about slavery featuring a black man who had been born free and was later forced into slavery but was struggling with the script when his wife found Solomon Northup’s biography and gave it to him. Shocked that he had never heard of Northup before he decided to adapt the book instead.
Chiwetel Ejiofor at first turned down Steve McQueen’s offer to play the leading role of Solomon Northup, but then realized he had to get over his initial fear of taking on what McQueen thought would be role of the actor’s lifetime. Ejiofor prepared for his role by immersing himself in the Louisiana plantation culture and learning how to use and play the violin.
Steve McQueen’s daughter told him to hire Sarah Paulson after viewing her audition tape because she found her scary.
In the movie, Ford purchased Solomon Northup and Eliza for $1000 and $700 respectively. Calculating inflation between 1841 and 2014, the equivalent dollar amount would be $27,000 and $19,000 respectively.
Before filming their more brutal scenes together, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender performed a ritual of “making nice”. According to Nyong’o: “We wouldn’t say anything to each other, just a look in the eye and a grasping of hands. Our characters are in such opposition, but we as actors needed each other in order to be able to go the distance.”
Michael Kenneth Williams had an emotional breakdown while filming what eventually became a deleted scene in the movie, as he related on the The Arsenio Hall Show (2013). The stress of recreating such painful material caused him to collapse to the ground after a take, where he screamed and cried for an extended period as one of the stunt coordinators comforted him.
On location shooting in Louisiana took only 35 days with one camera, which prompted amazed laughter from an audience of Directors Guild peers, including interviewer Kathryn Bigelow, for the startlingly efficient direction of Steve McQueen.
Brad Pitt responded to criticism that his casting in a brief heroic role was self-indulgent, given that he was one of the producers of the film. Pitt claimed that he did not insist on being cast in the part, and that it was simply easier to secure funding for the picture if he was in it.
Steve McQueen disclosed on The Colbert Report (2005) that when Solomon Northup’s autobiography, “12 Years a Slave” was first published in 1853, it sold terribly due to other, more popular books released around the same time. He also said that the interest that the film has generated has put the book back on the bestseller list.
Feature film debut as an actress for Lupita Nyong’o.
In an October 2013 interview with NPR, Steve McQueen mentioned that Solomon Northup’s 1853 book reminded him of “The Diary of Anne Frank” from nearly a century earlier. McQueen noted that he lives in Amsterdam and that Anne Frank is a national hero in his home country; when Northup’s book resonated the same way with him, he then resolved he would not rest until he had turned it into a movie.
Along with Gravity (2013), this is the first film to tie for Best Picture at the Producer Guild Awards.
Tibeats mocks the black men by singing a hopeful song urging theme to run away lest they be caught by the “patty roller.” This word, also spelled “patter roller” among other variants, was slang for patrolman. The Patrols, also called the Regulators, were semi-official secret police who keep slaves in line in antebellum times. These groups also served as a model for the post-war terror society Ku Klux Klan.
This is the third film collaboration of Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. They previously both appeared in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and The Counselor (2013). It is also the third collaboration between Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen, after Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011).
Vera Farmiga auditioned for Mistress Epps but Sarah Paulson was cast. Farmiga admitted that she wanted the role so much but was happy for Paulson.
First Best Picture Oscar winner with Arabic numerals in the title, rather than Roman numerals or a spelled-out number.
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Taran Killam often impersonates Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live (1975). Though both actors appear in this film, they never met nor worked together in it. Pitt’s Plan B company produced the movie, and Pitt’s role was only a small one.
12 Years a Slave is the first film from a black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Second film in a row, following Argo (2012) to win Best Picture and a screenplay Oscar without the Best Director Oscar. Fifth film with a numbered-title to win Best Picture, following Het gebeurde op ‘n avond (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956). Twelfth movie to win Best Picture with only three Oscars. A List That Includes Casablanca (1942), Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Godfather (1972), Rocky (1976), Crash (2004) & Argo (2012).
This movie marks the reuniting of Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis, both from Louisiana, where the film was shot, who had been acclaimed just months before for their first acting roles when they costarred in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). However, they do not share any scenes together.
Of the seven titles directed by Steve McQueen through July 2013, this movie is the first which does not have a one-word title.
The film won the ADAM, UPC Audience Award at Amsterdam Film Week 2013.
One of the first versions of the screenplay was written by both Steve McQueen and John Ridley.
Director Trademark
Steve McQueen: [casting] Michael Fassbender.

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Michael Fassbender momentarily passed out after filming the rape scene.
In a November 2013 interview with the LA Times, Michael Fassbender (Edwin Epps) explained the sinister meaning behind a scene that occurs late in the movie: “When the slaves come back from Judge Turner’s, Steve McQueen was like, ‘What do you think if you don’t have your pants on?’ I was like, ‘That’s great, and maybe we should have something else, like the little girl. It says so much with him holding her hand, not wearing pants: He’s priming the next Patsey. So you find those little elements that add to the character and tell things without any exposition.”
Steve McQueen: [long takes] Patsey being chained and whipped by Epps lasts around four minutes.
Body Count: 7.

From the gallery

Bass: The law says you have the right to hold a nigger, but begging the law’s pardon… it lies. Is everything right because the law allows it? Suppose they’d pass a law taking away your liberty and making you a slave?
Edwin Epps: Ha!
Bass: Suppose!
Edwin Epps: That ain’t a supposable case.
Bass: Because the law states that your liberties are undeniable? Because society deems it so? Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all. White and black alike.

External Links
Official website

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